BUJUMBURA, Burundi (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus concluded a visit to Bujumbura, Burundi, Nov. 21.
Mabus met with the First Vice President of Burundi, Therence Sinunguruza, to reinforce the United States' existing partnership with Burundi and thank them for their country's contribution to peacekeeping efforts in Somalia.
"I am here to underscore the importance of our partnership and relationship with Burundi," he said.
He also met with U.S. Ambassador to Burundi Dawn Liberi and Burundi's Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of National Defense and Veterans Affairs, Maj. Gen. Silas Ntigurigwa, before visiting with Marines assigned to Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Africa to thank them for their theater security cooperation efforts, military-to-military engagement and support to crisis response in the region.
"The work being done by Marines in places like Burundi is work that will be meaningful for years to come," said Mabus. "I cannot overstate the importance of what you are doing here. While you may be going home in a couple of months, the work you have done will have repercussions for months and years to come."
Mabus also emphasized the importance of Marines working with partner forces like the Burundi National Defense Force (BNDF) to the security of east Africa.
"The reason we develop these partnerships," he said, "is to prepare other nations, like Burundi, to do important work and help bring stability to uncertain regions."
Mabus' stop in Burundi is part of a multi-nation visit to the U.S. European, Africa and Central Command areas of responsibility focused on reinforcing existing partnerships and visiting Sailors and Marines providing forward presence.
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For more news from Secretary of the Navy, visit www.navy.mil/local/secnav/.